DA intensifies call on President Zuma to appoint Judicial Commission of Inquiry into SARS scandal
19 February 2015
The DA will intensify its call on President Jacob Zuma to launch a Judicial Commission of Inquiry, in terms of section 84(2)(f) of the Constitution, into the administrative disarray and the alleged political purge at the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
Reports today reveal that the Sikhakhane report (yet to be made public) into the so-called "rogue unit" at SARS, recommends that the President establish a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or that the Inspector-General of Intelligence conduct further investigation into the matter (see BDLive report).
However, the powers of the Inspector-General of Intelligence are limited to matters relating to state security and intelligence. Any such investigation into SARS would be hamstrung by this approach, adding further pressure to the President to ensure a judicial commission is launched.
It is deeply concerning that Commissioner Tom Moyane is proceeding with action against executives at SARS based on a report that actually recommends an independent inquiry be performed by a judge.
I will send a second formal communication to President Zuma today repeating my request for an independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry to be instituted without delay. If the President does not respond within 14 days the DA will ask parliament to demand an explanation from him as to why this inquiry has not been instituted.
SARS has been engulfed in controversy ever since the appointment of Tom Moyane as commissioner in September last year, which has seen the mass exodus of a string of top SARS officials - who have either left the Revenue Service; been suspended, or have been redeployed to other divisions.
While these suspensions have been under the guise of disciplinary action relating to the alleged wrongdoings by certain individuals, there is ample reason to believe that this is as a result of the sensitive investigations that are ongoing at SARS. These investigations include a probe into the tobacco industry - as well as a tax investigation into the ANC's tax bill and the President's own tax bill.
The Sikhakhane report made no findings of wrongdoing nor did it propose disciplinary action against SARS deputy commissioner, Ivan Pillay, or head of strategic planning and risk, Peter Richer. Yet according to SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, both Richer and Pillay were suspended based on the findings and recommendations in the Sikhakhane report.
This critical discrepancy further compels the President to initiate an independent review of what is happening at SARS, and this must be done without delay.
The DA is committed to ensuring that all state institutions are completely independent and free from political interference. It is now up to the President to prove he is committed to the same.
Statement issued by Dr Dion George MP, DA Shadow Minister of Finance, February 19 2015
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